This article reads like a Conservative puff pastry manufactured to make Harper taste good by leaving a bad taste in ones mouth about the Liberals. Even though the article is half baked it has some truth to it. First the Liberals thought Ignatieff would be their miracle cure. However, the Liberals never thought of Dion as a cure for anything. He was not the choice of the kingmakers and was never really that well supported by many in the party. Now as the article suggests Peter Donolo is supposed to turn things around. However so far everything is a matter of cosmetics not substance. The Liberals need to come up with new policies and more effective criticism of Harper. Right now they do not seem to be doing either.
Ailing Liberals keep looking for a miracle cure
By Angelo Persichilli
Political Columnist Published On Sun Nov 1 2009Email Print Republish Add to Favourites Report an error Share Share4 Article
Comments (144) In 2003, Liberals believed the messiah was Paul Martin. In 2005, they believed it was Stéphane Dion. Last year, they turned to Michael Ignatieff.
Now it's Peter Donolo's turn to play the role of designated saviour. The Liberals are so eager to get back into power that they keep pinning their hopes on the magic of one person to resuscitate the ailing party.
Like a desperate patient with a serious disease, they would rather resort to a sorcerer with a magic wand instead of following the proper – probably painful – therapy of conventional medicine.
The Liberal party is sick and the disease is serious. It has lost its status as the party of ideas and now is just the party of slogans. The Liberals have slogans about the environment, immigration, the economy and social justice but there is nothing behind them.
They signed the Kyoto Protocol but their record was worse than the anti-environment administration of George W. Bush.
They created havoc in our immigration system. Their policies privileged cunning people whose ability to flout rules is greater than their ability to contribute to this country, while honest people are still waiting at the border.
They lost their privileged relationship with new immigrants after taking them for granted for decades, not realizing that the once brilliant concept of multiculturalism is now obsolete and needs a new approach.
They brag about their ability to manage the economy when everybody knows the reality that a Liberal strategist told me some time ago: "The deficit created by Mulroney in the '80s was erased in the '90s by Mulroney's policies of the GST and free trade."
Long gone is the glorious past of Lester Pearson's Nobel Peace Prize and Pierre Trudeau's big constitutional reforms. Trudeau failed in many initiatives and his economic accomplishments were less than impressive but he made Canadians proud of themselves and inspired their dreams. Even Brian Mulroney, despite his human failings, proved to be a good prime minister who implemented lasting reforms.
Suspending judgment for now about Stephen Harper's government because of the global recession and the fact that he has never had an opportunity to lead a majority government, Canada has had nothing but Liberal slogans since the time of Pearson and Trudeau. Since then, aside from the Clarity Act and the decision not to participate to the Iraq war, the Liberals have not produced one single, bold idea to define their party. Yes, we had the infamous "Red Book," but I wonder how many Canadians remember what it was all about.
When Jean Chrétien's time was drawing to an end and power was slipping from their hands, the Liberals thought that Paul Martin was the new messiah. When he was elected during a glitzy but fake leadership convention in Toronto in 2003, even U2 singer Bono believed Martin was able to walk on water. Yet Martin was eclipsed by a Conservative leader who, it was said at the time, "will never be prime minister" – Stephen Harper.
Then they believed that a Quebec academic, Stéphane Dion, was the one to bring them to power in 2005. The best he could come up with was an attempted shortcut to power via a coalition with socialists and separatists.
They sacked him and, eager to get back to power, invented another trick; they appointed a new leader who, again, apparently could walk on water, then elected him – just like getting a degree before writing exams.
Now that Ignatieff's poll numbers are worse than Dion's, the Liberals have summoned another sorcerer to the party's bedside – Peter Donolo.
No doubt he is a good communicator and, as some wrote last week, will be able to build an image of the Liberal leader that can be sold to Canadians. But it is rather like bringing a makeup artist to the bedside of a sick person to make him look healthy when the cameras arrive. That's all well and good, but then what?
Angelo Persichilli is the political editor of Corriere Canadese. His column appears Sunday